2019 CGRS Presenters
Eight students will represent the University of Kansas Lawrence Campus at the 2019 Capitol Graduate Research Summit at the State Capitol Building in Topeka, Kansas. Learn more about their research below.
Five students will also represent the University of Kansas Medical Center at the Summit; learn more about their research at the Medical Center site.
For information about the event, and the other participating Kansas universities, please visit the Capitol Graduate Research Summit website.
Pamela Johnson | Bioengineering | Advisor: Jennifer Robinson
Growing 3D Cartilage to Treat Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects nearly 31 million Americans. Pamela Johnson's research focuses on creating biomaterials through an electrospinning process designed to deliver medication to the joint and promote new cartilage growth. The goal is to mimic the native structure of tissue and control how quickly medication is released to instruct cells to make new tissue.
James Lafikes | Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering | Advisor: David Darwin
Implementing New Concrete Technologies for Constructing Crack-Free Bridge Decks
Cracking in concrete bridge decks is a serious issue for the state and nation’s infrastructure that can lead to costly and often unplanned repair or replacement projects and associated traffic delays. James’s research is a continuation of work previously led by KU with support from industry, the Federal Highway Administration, and multiple states’ Departments of Transportation for improving the design life of bridge decks. Recent projects using specifications developed by KU have been adapted to include new materials for use in concrete bridge decks to further reduce cracking and ensure structures will be durable and long-lasting. Projects using these specifications have been successfully completed and are showing promising indications of accomplishing these goals.
Katie Stone | Clinical Child Psychology | Advisor: Yo Jackson
Mental Health Outcomes in Foster Youth: Promoting Cohesion and Conflict Resolution in Foster Families
Stone’s research focuses on the promotion of mental health in maltreated youth. Specifically, she is examining the impact of family factors on behavioral and mental health of youth in foster care. This study highlights the importance of interventions aimed at fostering cohesive parent-child relationships within the foster family and training caregivers on conflict resolution strategies in order to improve the well-being of youth in foster care.
Adam Petz | Computer Science | Advisor: Perry Alexander
Copland: A Semantics for Trust in Cyber Infrastructure
A necessary component of security is trust. However, trust in the context of cyber-security is often misplaced. The Copland effort aims to supplement existing ad-hoc IT cyber defenses (like virus checkers and network firewalls) with a more principled framework that leverages trusted hardware and formally-verified protocols. Moving forward, deeper levels of trust in cyber infrastructure will support critical services like government websites, healthcare, and schools.
Shravan Kaundinya | Electrical Engineering | Advisor: Fernando Rodriguez-Morales
Monitoring Water Content in Soil using Radar
Water content in soil is a key factor for agriculture, water resource management, and predicting natural disasters like droughts and floods. Farmers can utilize moisture data to make vital decisions regarding irrigation and possibly increase crop yield. This research focuses on building a system, which can fly on a UAV helicopter, to remotely measure the water content over a large area of soil. This method provides a quick, convenient, and flexible way of monitoring farmlands, without physically interacting with the soil.
James Coll | Geography and Atmospheric Science | Advisor: Xingong Li
Mapping Floods Anywhere in Kansas Using the National Water Model
Our ability to predict floods changed drastically when the National Water Model became operational in summer of 2016, but to date little has been done to capitalize on these new capabilities. This research presents free and open source tools that significantly lower the technical skills needed to capitalize on these advancements, so that first responders and municipalities may use this information to help make informed decisions before and during a flood event. Try it for yourself at: https://tinyurl.com/FOSSFlood
Zoe E. Dimond | Molecular Biosciences | Advisor: Scott Hefty
Using Antibiotic-Resistant Agricultural Bacteria to Understand Chlamydia Infections
Chlamydiae are a group of bacteria who cause serious diseases in a variety of animal species, including notably, the human sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia. Much is unknown about the mechanisms of disease but there are common mechanisms for host-adaptation and establishment of infection which we can use to engineer new treatments for human disease. Zoe Dimond's research focuses on studying the genetic factors contributing to host-specific infection, pathology formation and clearance of Chlamydia.
Maria Tickerhoof | Pharmacology and Toxicology | Advisor: Adam Smith
Understanding the Link Between Stress and Mental Illness
Stress impacts millions of Americans, and extreme stress can negatively affect an individual’s life and even lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The goal of my research is to study how stress leads to changes in the brain, and how these changes can cause symptoms of mental illness. My current work examines how dopamine in the amygdala, an emotional processing center of the brain, regulates behavior after experiencing a severe social stressor.